Monday, August 31, 2009

Bank Holiday Monday

Well there we have another Bank Holiday Monday nearly over, almost done and dusted, another one come and gone.

If I was still one of the many who have to turn out to work everyday and to whom the bank holidays are one of the few days off to which I would be entitled, then I would to say the least, be slightly miffed.

As seems to be the norm, the weather has been far from good, not exactly rained all day but there was a definate chill to be detected in the air. It is of course raining now and the forecast for the next couple of days is for more precipitation spreading across the country from the west.

Another regular feature of the Bank Holiday Weekend is of course the traffic jams. The M5 and M6, at least around Birmingham and Bristol, will have been for a great part of the weekend at a standstill. A last minute rush to get abroad by plane will see crowds of frustrated travellers heading for the airports, while British Rail (or whatever it's modern day equivalent is called) will have decided to frustrate it's much needed rail travel supporters by scheduling essential maintenance work during this busy holiday period.

So What did you do on this Bank Holiday Monday?

Go to a garden centre or the DIY store?
Go to the beach? Sleep? Eat? Drink? Go for a walk? Go for a jog? Go to the pub? Blog?

If you happened across the "Jack Russell" forum then you may have attended "The 4th Annual Twilly Memorial Companion Dog Show with Obedience" held at Shareshill Village Hall, or of course headed of to Beacon Hill Country Park, for a wood cutting demonstration.

No? then answers on a postcard please to: or better still just tell us by leaving a comment below.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A British Garden | Butterflies

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in a British garden, Butterflies were all around the Buddleia, it was easy to see why this is often referred to as the butterfly bush. Saturday had been a lovely day, Sunday continued in the same vain, warm and pleasant, I spent the afternoon chasing Butterflies with Jo-Jo.

We had decided to get a closer look at all these delicate flying creatures and discover exactly what species we could identify.

The Peacock Butterfly
Many of those present were easily identified as the Peacock Butterfly, a familiar sight in gardens across the British Isles, with quite spectacular eyes on the upperside of the wings that give this butterfly its name. The eyes are for defense as they appear very threatening to predators.

The Painted Lady
The next most prevalent were the Painted Lady, a species that amazingly originates from North Africa.

The Red Admiral
The striking colours of The red admiral, another relatively common species found throughout Britain. Although considered to be a resident species now, large numbers of the ones we see are migrants from the European continent.

The Large White
In lesser numbers now though they were more numerous in previous weeks were the Large White, or Cabbage White as they are more often known. Gardeners will recognise this as a pest due to the fact the caterpillars love to devour the leaves of brassicas.

The Small Tortoiseshell
Just a few of these Small Tortoiseshell butterflies were found, again this was observed as a species with vivid colours and markings used to scare away would-be predators.

We caught a few specimens so that we could get a close look at them but were very careful and let them go none the worse for their experience. In preference to the old practice of killing the butterfly then pinning it to a board for display I chose to take a few pictures with my camera.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dovedale in Pictures

I thought I would give you a look at Dovedale, on the edge of the Peak district and just a few miles from the market town of Ashbourne.
Such a beautiful place, peaceful and tranquil, even though it is filled with people at this time of year. A short distance from the path to the right of the Stepping stones and we left the sounds of the people behind us. Jo-Jo played in a tiny stream while we sat in the sunshine watching a family of Kestrels at play high on the cliff face.

The weather had smiled kindly on us again this weekend, during a summer that had been far from good. A gentle stroll, a sit on the grass, and an ice cream on the way home - perfect.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bloggers Block

When J. K. Rowling was writing "Harry Potter" did she have days when the words would not line up in the correct order? Did she have thoughts inside her head that no matter how hard she tried, could not be transferred into language that made any sense?

Whether she did or not, I have of course no idea, but what I do know, is that this has been happening to me rather a lot lately. Is it what is termed writers block, or in my case - Bloggers Block? Actually I am not sure if writers block refers to a condition whereby an author experiences difficulty in expressing thoughts into words or whether it is in fact a lack of ideas.

My problem, if I can just take a minute of your time to explain, is that I have a wealth of ideas, tales, stories, and humorous episodes from my past that I want to tell you about, in addition to my present day comings and goings. Unfortunately I seem unable to reach the point of actually transferring these thoughts onto paper - or indeed this digital media of the blog.

I could I suppose write down one of my old poems:
A young man jogging through the park
Had buttocks like a Peach,
Two old ladies had a stroke
The third one couldn't reach.
But I do not want to do that.

I wanted to tell you about our two trips to Dovedale last week, a place known to many, but one of new discovery to us. I wanted to describe the beauty of the countryside, the majesty of Thorpe Cloud (a high peak) the wonderful sight and sound of the river rushing and tumbling over swift rapids, squeezing noisily between boulders, or gliding deep and serene beneath a canopy of overhanging trees. Instead all I could think of was the woman whose feet slipped suddenly on a steep shale embankment causing her to slide on her bottom, feet first into the water. That of course would be cruel and insensitive of me to mention.

As indeed would be the mention of the woman on our second visit who suffered a similar fate at almost the exact same place, falling very unladylike and landing heavily and I am sure painfully on her backside. I would not want you to think ill of me by mentioning that I along with other members of my family (plus many other passers by) resorted to turning away our heads in order to hide the uncontrollable laughter that resulted from witnessing such examples of other peoples misfortunes.

So you see my problem, I do not seem able to focus on what I set out to do. I simply find it impossible to write at the moment, but hopefully this Bloggers block will soon leave me and I will be back to normal, writing posts that you will find of interest and I hope will be entertaining.

Will write soon - keep a lookout for my next post !!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dovedale | Sunny Sunday

Friday was nice, Saturday was not bad, but it was truly a beautiful Sunny Sunday. Just what a summer day should be like, but the sort of day that has been sadly lacking during the summer season in this country.

We went to daughter "P's" and it was suggested that on such a nice day we should venture out into the countryside with "W" suggesting an exploration of Dovedale. We are well acquainted with the tiny village of Ilam and the National trust property there but I am really not familiar with any other parts of the valley.

From the Derbyshire UK website:
Dovedale in Derbyshire and the Peak District, is owned by the National Trust and is farmed with many sheep on the rocky slopes and in the woods. It is little more than 3 miles distance between Thorpe to the south of the dale and Milldale in the north with the famous part being the wooded ravine between the stepping stones, a short distance from the car park at the front of Thorpe Cloud and the cave like Dove Holes. Dovedale's stepping stones appear on thousands of post cards and the area attracts a million visitors a year. Keep away on sunny weekend afternoons.
"W" has fond memories of the stepping stones and going there in his younger days with his dad and brother. So we went in search of the infamous place apparently featured on so many post cards.

In actual fact it was easy to find. Turning right over the bridge in Ilam, then a left turn immediately past the Issac Walton Hotel and there was the public car park. What a fantastic place, I could not believe I had never been here before, so close to home and so perfect. A steeply wooded ravine yet a level easy to walk pathway led away from the car park and is suitable for wheelchairs and people who have difficulty walking such as myself.

It was beautiful, it was majestic, it was magnificent, it was packed.

Yes the bright sunny weather had brought out hoards of people, it was absolutely heaving, like crowds exiting a football match, Yet it was still possible to walk and enjoy the countryside.

This area of Dovedale is now on the top of our list of places to visit mid-week when the children are back at school and in the winter I imagine it will be heaven.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Sporty Afternoon

Although the weather was lousy yet again - true of much of this so called summer - the rain would not be interfering with my Sporty Afternoon.

I started with a game of tennis, well actually 3 games, only one of which I managed to win, but the other two were close fought battles.

After the tennis it was time for a round of golf. Just a nine hole course but the level of difficulty increases as one progresses through the course. I managed to birdie the first and second, par the third but then it was down hill all the way. Down hill as regards my performance that is, I will not say how many over par my final score was.

I then had a bit of a training session with some target golf and putting practice and I must admit my putting is improving.

Following the golf I decided to indulge in a couple of games of ten-pin bowling. Not in competition with any one, just playing by myself for the enjoyment and a bit of practice. After a reasonably good start I soon went off the boil and my scores over two games were not impressive, I guess I need some more practice.

It rained for most of the afternoon but I did not really care, I enjoyed my Sporty Afternoon despite the weather.

I must admit this Nintendo Wii is brilliant and I just love the Wii sports game that came with it.